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Axis Bank PMLA case: ED attaches Rs 2 cr assets

NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said it has connected property value over Rs 2 crore in reference to a money laundering case registered against former officials of an Axis Bank branch here and others, put up the 2016 demonetisation exercise.

In a statement, the agency said it has issued a "provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attaching movable and immovable properties worth Rs 2,95,92,351 of Puneet Jain, Hemraj Singh, Vinod Deshmukh, Rajeev Singh Kushwaha, Mehfooz Khan, Pravesh Kumar Gandhi and others in the Axis bank demonetised currency conversion case".

The ED had filed a legal case within the subject according to an FIR filed by the Delhi Police after it seized Rs 3.70 crore in outdated notes of Rs 1,000 in 2016.

Demonetisation of outdated Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes was once announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.

"Investigation revealed that on announcement of demonetisation policy, accused Mohit Garg, Nitin Gupta, Vineet Gupta, Shobhit Sinha and Axis bank officials used shell companies like M/s Beagle Marketing, M/s Sunrise Trading Co, M/s R D Traders, M/s Himalayan Traders of Rajeev Singh Kushwaha for illegal exchange of demonetised currency of Vinod Deshmukh, Puneet Jain, Hemraj Singh, Pravesh Kumar Gandhi and others," it said.

The ED said Mohit Garg, Nitin Gupta and Rajeev Singh Kushwaha used to assemble demonetised forex from people and deposited them within the account of shell corporations operated by Kushwaha.

"This was once carried out with the assistance of Axis Bank officials. The amount deposited in these shell firms have been additional transferred to the account of various bullion buyers for buying gold.

"Thus, they converted demonetised forex into gold/RTGS shape on commission basis and illegally exchanged demonetized forex into gold," it said.

Investigation additionally published that demonetised forex value of Rs 40 crore of various individuals was once converted on this method, the ED charged.

Kushwaha, Vineet Gupta and Shobhit Sinha -- all officials on the Axis Bank's Kashmere Gate branch -- have been arrested by the ED on this case and at the present they are out on bail.

The staff have been later got rid of by the financial institution.

The ED has filed two fee sheets on this case till now.

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